Ordinary courts - Czech Republic
The court system in the Czech Republic comprises 89 district courts, eight regional courts, and the Supreme Court.
General courts – Introduction
Jurisdiction in civil cases
Civil cases are handled by district courts, regional courts, high courts and the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic.
Courts of first instance
District courts hear and judge disputes and other legal matters in civil, employment family and commercial cases wherever no other court has material jurisdiction over them under the law.
Other cases which do not fall within the scope of private law (those concerning, for example, the appointment or dismissal of arbitrators, the repeal of an arbitration ruling, etc.) are heard and judged by district courts in civil proceedings, if the law so prescribes.
Cases falling within the jurisdiction of a district court are usually judged by a single judge sitting alone.
Employment cases and other cases specified by law are heard by a panel comprising a judge and two laypersons.
Regional courts act as courts of first instance in cases and disputes defined in Section 9(2) and Section 9a of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Cases brought before a regional court acting as the court of first instance are heard and judged by a single judge sitting alone; where prescribed by law, cases at first instance are heard and judged by a panel comprising a presiding judge and two other judges.
The Supreme Court acts as court of first instance pursuant to Section 67 of Act No 97/1963 (the International Private and Procedural Law Act); under the terms and conditions of that Act the Supreme Court recognises judgments by foreign courts.
The Supreme Court sits in panels or Grand Panels.
Where a case is heard by a district court in the first instance, the court of appeal (court of second instance) is a regional court.
Where a case is by a regional court in the first instance, the court of appeal is a high court.
The high courts sit in panels comprising a presiding judge and two other judges, unless a special law provides otherwise.
Legislative acts issued by the Czech Republic are available (in Czech only) on the government's official websitePortál vlády ČR.
May the legal database be consulted free of charge?
Yes. This website is the only place providing the texts of legislative acts free of charge.
Jurisdiction in criminal cases
Criminal cases are handled by district courts, regional courts, high courts and the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic.
Courts of first instance
Unless Act No 141/1961 on criminal trials provides otherwise, proceedings at first instance are conducted by a district court.
District courts judge cases specified in legal acts concerning proceedings conducted before courts sitting as a panel; other cases are heard by a single judge sitting alone. District court panels comprise a presiding judge and two associate judges. 'Single judge sitting alone' means a judge or a presiding judge. Only judges may act as presiding judges.
First-instance proceedings in criminal cases are conducted by regional courts if the legally prescribed penalty for the offences involved is a minimum of five years' imprisonment, or if a special penalty may be imposed. Proceedings in respect of criminal offences specified in Section 17(1) of the Criminal Trial Act are conducted at first instance by a regional court even where the minimum term of imprisonment is lower.
Regional courts sits in panels. Single judges sitting alone judge the cases specified in the relevant legal acts concerning court proceedings.
Regional court panels comprise:
a) a presiding judge and two associate judges, where the panel is acting as court of first instance in a criminal case;
b) a presiding judge and two judges in other cases.
'Single judge sitting alone' means a judge or a presiding judge. Only judges may act as presiding judges.
Appeals against district-court judgments are heard by a higher regional court. Appeals against judgments issued by a regional court acting as court of first instance are heard by a high court.
A high court sits in panels comprising a presiding judge and two other judges, unless a special law provides otherwise.
Jurisdiction in administrative cases
The role of administrative justice is to protect the subjective public rights of natural and legal persons..
This role is performed by administrative courts. These are specialised chambers within the regional court system and act as administrative courts of first instance.
The administrative courts are composed of the presiding judge, deputy presiding judges and other judges. Individual cases are heard by panels made up of three judges.
Administrative courts deal with:
a) complaints against rulings issued in the field of public administration by an administrative authority, i.e. by an executive authority, the authority of a self-governing geographical entity, a natural or physical person or some other authority asked to determine the rights and obligations of natural and legal persons in the field of public administration;
b) protection against an administrative authority's failure to act;
c) protection in the event of unlawful action by an administrative authority;
d) complaints concerning jurisdiction;
e) cases concerning elections and local/regional referendums;
f) cases involving polical parties and movements;
g) full or partial repeal of general measures on account of their unlawfulness;
h) cases concerning the disciplinary responsibility of judges, court officials, public prosecutors and bailiffs, and
i) cases relating to certain rules governing professions.
The Supreme Administrative Court is the administrative court of final instance and it comprises the presiding judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, the deputy presiding judges and judges. Individual cases are usually heard by a panel of three judges.
In addition to hearing appeals, the Supreme Administrative Court hears cases on the dissolution of political parties or political movements, on the suspension or resumption of their activities, on complaints concerning jurisdiction and on the full or partial repeal of measures of a general nature. Further material jurisdiction is assigned to the Supreme Administrative Court by means of special laws.
Further details may be found on the following website:Evropský soudní atlas ve věcech občanských – Soustava soudů v České republice [European Court Atlas for civil cases – Court system in the Czech Republic].
Further information may be found on the following website: Nejvyšší správní soud [Supreme Administrative Court].
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Last update: 15/03/2013